Beginning with a detailed study of Homer's balance of negative and positive elements in the Circe-Odysseus myth, Judith Yarnall employs text and illustrations to demonstrate how Homer's Circe is connected with age-old traditions of goddess worship. She then examines how the image of a one-sided "witch," who first appeared in the commentary of Homer's allegorical interpreters, proved remarkably persistent, influencing Virgil and Ovid. Yarnall concludes with a discussion of work by Margaret Atwood and Eudora Welty in which the enchantress at last speaks in her own voice: that of a woman isolated by, but unashamed of, her power.
"A fascinating, beautifully written study." -- Barbara F. McManus, coauthor of Half Humankind: Contexts and Texts of the Controversy about Women in England, 1540-1640.